Thanks to Dr. Sparks, our cohort of Higher Education managed to explore, to understand and think about women leaders in education: who they are, what their roles are in education and in society as well. It was a very significantly interesting topic for us because we were eager to know the inside of this “absorbing” term as we study in the major called “Educational Leadership”. In addition, the interest grew since there are only girls in the group. My goal here is to share with you, Master’s students of Educational Leadership with ideas discussed in our class and to see what you think about this, if possible.
Personally, a woman leader is the woman who effectively juggles both career and family, who achieves success in the work and value family life. However, there is another idea of the authors which can be very interesting.
To explore this topic we went through several stages or steps: we discussed, read and presented PowerPoint Presentations. We read a book chapter written by Grogan and Shakeshaft (2011), who stated that there is a need to redefine or to create new understanding of leadership as women leadership in education. Women leadership in education is different from other types of leadership such as transformative, managerial, …and, therefore a new definition should emerge which will totally fit to the qualities, differences, traits and peculiarities of women leaders. And there are a number of reasons to prove that: women perceive and use power differently than men, that they use power through understanding and listening. As there was said: “Women have modeled ways to use power and make change through understanding, a process that requires listening, not just talking” (p. 91). Then, what makes women leadership unique is the use of skills given them naturally as a part of being a woman, which are mothering skills (protection, support, encouragement, etc.), and which can be beneficial in educational leadership. However, there was time, when “mothering skills were perceived less important than leadership” (p. 84). Moreover, women’s “revolutionary” approach to improve something and to change things for the better, to help others, to improve social justice are estimated as a certain difference. “As a way of making meaning in their work of leadership, women discuss their desire to make things better, to right social wrong, to increase support for underserved groups” (p. 90).
To sum up, the women leadership is a phenomenon which can be understood by people differently. How to achieve success in education being a woman is a difficult question and may be there is no sole answer that fits for all and common for all, because nowadays, we are open to everything, we have freedom, we have the right to be different. So, what does women leadership mean to you and does it exist in Kazakhstan?